Ramblings: Halak, Markstrom, Gibson, Ferland, Shattenkirk and even more goalie talk (Jan 14)


I released the 11th annual Midseason Fantasy Guide on Friday. It has deeper, more-ready prospect info, plus KHL/Euro/NCAA free agents, trade block musings and of course second-half projections. It’s a great way to step back and take a look at your team, take a look at your league, and figure out a strategy for the second half. It also supports the site and damn if it isn’t a great read. It’s also my longest ever at 231 (!) pages. Pick it up here!


I’m getting a lot of questions on Twitter about goaltending. All season long, to be honest, but it’s really picked up again over the past week as the early-on struggling starters begin to take their jobs back from the red-hot backups. And some of these are just so tough to answer. Drop Casey DeSmith for MacKenzie Blackwood? A proven guy who is losing starts for an unproven guy who may get the starts but is on a weak team? Another tough one – drop Jaroslav Halak, who is losing his grip on starts as Tuukka Rask is on fire and will get most starts down the stretch…to pick up Alexandar Georgiev who is a backup and is terrible but he’s behind a starter who is even worse? Sure, you could take the guy who will get you 0.8 points over the next week instead of the guy who might get you 1.2 points. But maybe it could be vice-versa? Your guys who have really helped you in the first half are no longer helping you. Sorry, but there’s no solution, if he’s your second goalie you’ll just have to take the two starts every three weeks that you’ll be getting from now on. Adding Georgiev is not going to save you. If you’re in this position I am guessing you were lucky to grab Halak (or DeSmith, or Domingue, etc.) in the first place so the time to stabilize your goaltending for when this happens would have been a month ago. But instead, you bet against the contract and hung on.

Mikko Koskinen sits for three out of four games when he’s the superior goalie, what to do with that guy? Same thing as with Halak, except Cam Talbot isn’t exactly stealing his job back just yet – he’s just getting most of the starts again. David Rittich could be in the same boat soon, despite how awesome he’s been. Louis Domingue was helpful too, but his time is over. Ditto for Casey DeSmith – and those of you in keeper leagues hoping he would parlay this great season into a starting gig somewhere else, well, his new contract isn’t a starter’s contract. So he’s doomed to be a backup and that’s that.

Long story short, this is why I follow the contract. Because even though it can be painful owning some of these guys for 10, 20 or even 40 games, eventually they retain the starting gig and generally do okay with it. Chasing backups is something that I don’t do in keeper leagues unless I see a chance at his becoming a starter. I had mild interest in DeSmith, now that interest is gone. I have interest in Collin Delia, I have interest in Rittich, and I like Cal Petersen over Jack Campbell. That’s it.


Adin Hill coughed up seven goals on Sunday but it really wasn’t his fault, the Coyotes were horrible. But he is 3-5-0, 3.75 and 0.872 since December 6.

Darcy Kuemper has posted four solid games in a row and has six Quality Starts over his last eight.

Calvin Pickard was underwhelming in his AHL conditioning stint, allowing 11 goals on 99 shots for Tucson. Although he did go 3-0-0 so he stopped ‘enough’ pucks to get it done (he’s 4-2-2 in the NHL too, so maybe that’s just how he works?). Pickard was recalled from his stint Sunday, but he’s not looking like the answer for Arizona. But I don’t think they would mind his warming the bench while they give Hill some better starts down in Tucson. I suspect they’ll send Hill down soon.


Three more points for Mark Giordano and he was also a plus-5. He’s now a ridiculous plus-36 with 47 points in 45 games on the season.


Arizona line combinations with Jordan Weal in the lineup:













Immediately tried out with the big guns. But he did cough up a tough one on the fourth Calgary goal so I’m not sure how long that will last.


I was worried about Sergei Bobrovsky after this weekend’s mysterious team suspension. And now I’m worried that his focus is blown. He got the win but gave up five goals on 27 shots. It really hasn’t been fun owning Bobrovsky this year.

With two assists Sunday, Ryan Murray is still humming along at a point every two games.

Kevin Stenlund played his first and second career NHL games Saturday and Sunday. He is a solid middle-six prospect who had a great training camp and as an AHL rookie so far appears to be a 20-goal scorer this year. He was plunked on a line with Alexander Wennberg and Anthony Duclair this weekend, but was held without a point. His DobberProspects profile is here.


Neal Pionk has one point in his last 10 games. Kevin Shattenkirk has four points in that span. The Rangers also gave up their five-forward top power-play-unit experiment and let Shatty back on it. A few games ago he was moved to the second PP while Coach Quinn went with five forwards on the top one. Shattenkirk has seen 10 minutes of PP time over the last three games so it appears things have returned to normal. Other than the ‘scoring points’ thing. Shattenkirk’s last PP point was on November 9. The one before that was October 16. The one before that was last season.


Loui Eriksson was on nobody’s active roster yesterday as he went out and had himself a three-point game. This after going eight games without a point. He was also plus-4. He was still on a depth line playing with checking-line players, he just happened to have a good game.

After a couple of rough games, Jacob Markstrom bounced back with a Quality Start. Since December 6 he is 10-3-1, 2.13 and 0.925%.

I don’t care how great Thatcher Demko is, I am the lone wolf of the DobberHockey writers – Demko isn’t going to usurp this. Markstrom is posting stellar numbers, he was a highly-touted prospect (more highly-touted than Demko is now, even), and yes he had some rough years and took six years longer to ‘make it’ than we wanted – but he’s getting it done and he’s making $4 million next year. So he’s getting all the starts he wants for the next year and a half. And you know what? If he keeps posting a 0.920 SV% as this team gets better, the best prospect in the world isn’t going to take it from him. I’ve seen it before and I’ll see it again (remember Jonathan Bernier was the next big thing, but couldn’t wrench the job away from a fella named Quick who got there a year earlier).

Sometimes, starting goaltending is about timing. Mid-level, lesser-touted goalie prospects can become great fantasy assets because they arrive in an organization at the perfect time (Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Chris Osgood, and maybe soon Delia?). And sometimes amazing goalie prospects never get rolling because the timing just missed (Bernier a great example of this, Cory Schneider another one). I know the simple, reflexive answer is “well, trade one!” But it never seems to be that simple. Obvious trades never seem to get done in real life. If Markstrom continues to play above average and gets paid $4 million next year, what if they extend him in the summer? You know the Canucks will try to lock him in, so what if he gets extended for even higher salary for three or four more years? Then what happens to Demko then? I’ll tell you what happens – he gets the Schneider treatment. An extra couple of years too long in the AHL, plus far too long as a backup goalie.

So, here I am. The lone wolf. I think highly of Demko and his upside. I would trade him away in my keeper league because I want someone who will actually play a lot in the next couple of years.


Victor Hedman left the game after taking a ref’s shoulder to the eye. Doesn’t sound like an injury that would cost him future games, but be wary of a possible concussion.


Micheal Ferland is back on a line with the big guns Sebastian Aho/Teuvo Teravainen and he’s racking up the points again. Give him five in the last two games. He added seven PIM on Sunday. He’s back on the power play as well, both of Sunday’s points were with the man advantage.

And with four points on Sunday, Aho now has 22 points in his last 15 games, so playing on a line with him is like striking gold these days.


Colton Sissons, who is filling in for Kyle Turris, seems to be doing better than Turris was on the Kevin Fiala line. Then again, Calle Jarnkrok was doing great there as well. In fact, it seems like if your name isn’t Turris, you’re going to do great with Fiala. Which begs the question – why does Turris get to play with Fiala? Sissons has a four-game points streak, which was preceded by four pointless games, which was preceded by another four-game points streak. In all, Sissons has 11 points in 12 games.

Pekka Rinne was pulled after giving up five goals on 20 shots. In his last 11 games, Rinne is 3-6-2, 3.18 and 0.896. Meanwhile, Juuse Saros has posted five consecutive Quality Starts.


Anaheim has lost 11 games in a row. The GM announced that he was going to fire Randy Carlyle by saying “I am not considering a coaching change at this time” which, as we know, is the kiss of death.

The sign of desperation? Playing two of your six defensemen 8:30 or less. That leaves the other four defensemen killing themselves out there. Another sign? Jakob Silfverberg was up playing with Ryan Getzlaf and I almost never see that. It’s happened, I just rarely catch it. Another sign? Pontus Aberg is now getting scratched – three games in a row now. Carlyle is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this problem.

John Gibson is 0-5-4 with a 0.896 SV% during this stretch. He is the goalie I would say has the biggest fan club around these parts – I have probably received the most questions about my perceived low ranking of Gibson over the past several years than any other goaltender. Or maybe the Gibson owners are just more vocal. Anyway, I digress. I noted here a few weeks ago that if the Ducks made the playoffs then Gibson should get the Vezina and the Hart, because I felt that the team was terrible but the goalie was doing amazing. Now he’s not stealing games anymore and their crappiness is catching up with them.

One good thing for the Ducks – Daniel Sprong has five points in his last seven games and has wired 29 shots on goal over his last nine. He seems to settling into his new home okay now.


When I was putting the Midseason Guide together I was surprised at the kind of season Brandon Tanev was having. And with an assist Sunday he has a five-game points streak going. He also added five SOG and six hits.  Since November 14 here is the line on Tanev:

29-9-5-14, plus-4, 13 PIM, 54 SOG, 100 Hits and 26 BLKs.

Just picked him up, myself.


I just took a look at the hot/cold tool and there are seven players at the 15-game max window we look at that have 23 points or more. That is to say, seven players have at least 23 points in their last 15 games. How about that. Nikita Kucherov (32), Johnny Gaudreau (28 before Sunday night’s three points), Connor McDavid (26), Steven Stamkos (25), Patrick Kane (24), Sidney Crosby (23) and Brayden Point (23).



See you next Monday.